FIFA World Cup: Group D Analysis

29 May

Current FIFA rankings 

  • Germany (6)
  • Serbia (15)
  • Ghana (32)
  • Australia (20)

Controversy has engulfed Group D from the moment Germany captain Michael Ballack was ruled out of the World Cup via a challenge by Ghana midfielder Kevin-Prince Boateng during the English FA Cup final. Conspiracists in the German media have framed this incident as an intentional ploy to weaken “Der Nationalmannschaft’s” chances of topping the group and German born Boateng has been vilified as an enemy of the nation. Adding fuel to the fire, it is likely Kevin-Prince will line up for Ghana against younger brother Derek, who has opted to play for Germany, in Johannesburg on June 26 (NZ time). Ghana meanwhile have their own injury problems with key playmaker Michael Essien officially out of the tournament. Still, an Essien-less Ghana finished second at the 2010 Africa Cup of Nations showing that the “Black Stars” are not to be underestimated despite the absence of their talisman. 

Despite the loss of their most influential and experienced player, Germany are steady favourites to top the group. German coach Joachim Low will likely implement the same striking duo of Miroslav Klose and Lukas Podolski from the last world cup, and despite both Polish born players having largely disappointing Bundesliga seasons for their clubs (Klose for instance only scored one league goal last season) their international pedigree is one for others to fear. Behind them, young Werder Bremen midfielder Mezut Ozil and Bayern Munich schemer Bastian Schweinsteiger will be pulling the strings. Both players have been in fine form for their respective clubs of late, and Ozil in particular may quickly become one of the stars of the tournament. 

The reasons behind Miroslav Klose's poor Bundesliga form are revealed.

However this is a young German team in comparison to previous campaigns, and it is unlikely that Ballacks presence will not be missed. Exemplifying this, the most suitable replacements for Ballack in the central midfield position have also been ruled out the tournament, Simon Rolfes and Christian Trasch through injury, while Torsten Frings is not on speaking terms with Low. If the Germans have a weakness, this is it, and the opposition will be aiming to exploit this. 

And if anyone can beat Germany to the top it’s Serbia, my personal dark horse for the tournament. The Serbs are a well organised and efficient unit under coach Radomir Antic and showed this by topping a group containing the likes of France and Romania in qualifying. Serbia’s attack will be spearheaded by 6 foot 8 inch giant Nikola Zigic and assisted by a midfield containing the likes of Inter Milan treble winner Dejan Stankovich and the much coveted CSKA Moscow playmaker Milos Krasic. This is backed by a rock solid defence containing Nemanja Vidic, Branislav Ivanovich, and Neven Subotic. Serbia’s only real weakness is the lack of a top quality keeper, with Vladimir Stojkovic more known for his tantrums than his prowess in goal. Despite this, don’t expect Serbia to be embarrassed in 2010 like they were in 2006. 

Making up the numbers in Group D are our Australian cousins. Coach Pim Verbeek has assembled a motley crew of seasoned veterans who will likely rely more on hard graft and tough tackling than attractive ball skills to progress past the first round. The Socceroo’s cause is not helped by the lack of a recognised prolific striker and it will up to midfielders such as Tim Cahill to hit the back of the net on a regular basis. However one should never discount the Aussies, with the likes of Craig Moore, Harry Kewell, and Lucas Neill likely to give everything to secure a successful swan song at the World Cup. 

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3 Responses to “FIFA World Cup: Group D Analysis”

  1. nolan83 May 29, 2010 at 10:07 am #

    “Coach Pim Verbeek has assembled a motley crew of seasoned veterans who will likely rely more on hard graft and tough tackling than attractive ball skills to progress past the first round”

    Lol. Following that, here is my view of the Aussie team:

    • goonix May 29, 2010 at 11:30 am #

      Why do you have a picture of Sloth from the Goonies as your avatar?

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